Free-for-all pay war to leave everyone poorer
Normally in hostage-taking situations, a government will not engage with the aggressor. Give in once and you will be held up again - and again. So, while there will be some solace in the fact that gardaí did not actually break their oath to protect this State, it is tempered by the fact that they didn't need to. The Government talked them down and gave in to their demands, stumping up extra money. There may be kudos for winning a battle, but an all-out, free-for-all pay war has now broken out. The Garda deal has bought time but at a very heavy price.
The GRA remains hopelessly split. Even though members will get up to €3,639 under the terms, it was passed by only 20 votes to 17. The Taoiseach is adamant that the Lansdowne Agreement still holds, but it has been stretched beyond recognition. And now Siptu, the INMO, CPSU and Impact are all seeking immediate talks with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions on its support for an agreement they feel is now only an illusion.
It is time to take a hard look at where this ruinous round of open-ended pay demands will lead. Forced into an impossible position, the Government acquiesced to gardaí. But there are inherent dangers in bowing too low. As Winston Churchill cautioned: "An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."